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Albion on course to copy Hammers
If Gus Poyet was choosing a role model for promotion from the Championship, Sam Allardyce's West Ham, in terms of style of play at least, would come well down the list.
Yet Albion are on course, in one respect, to challenge for a place in the Premier League the West Ham way - by winning away.
Conventional wisdom dictates you collect the majority of your points in front of your own fans. The perception is that Albion have turned The Amex into something of a fortress. The reality is rather different.
True, teams find it difficult to win at the Seagulls' second-season home. Only five have managed that in 28 Championship matches - Crystal Palace, Allardyce's Hammers, Burnley, Reading and, most recently, Birmingham.
It is equally true though that Poyet's side are finding it hard to win at The Amex as well. They have done that only twice in nine attempts since the end of March, a barren sequence which began with a draw against this Saturday's visitors Middlesbrough.
There is every chance Albion will continue to labour for maximum points at home, because of the manner in which teams are setting up to stop them.
Allardyce set the ball rolling a year ago. West Ham were gifted an early lead, then sat back and invited Albion to try to break them down.
The Hammers won just 11 of their 23 matches at Upton Park last season, compared to an impressive 13 on their travels.
In fact, 45 of the 86 points which earned them third spot and promotion via the play-offs were gained away from the East End. Albion are, so far, treading a similar path.
Full story inside today's Argus.
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